The Violinist of Hamelin
Fifteen years ago Pandora's Box was opened, and great evil was unleashed in the land of Sforzend. Queen Horn has done her best to seal the monsters that were released, but now her power grows weak. She sends word to Staccato Village that her daughter, Flute, must be returned to her, so that she can use her innate power to save the world from destruction. Flute is placed in the care of her friend Hamelin, and along with his familiar / mentor Oboe (who is a talking black crow). The three set out to the capital, fighting enemies, acquiring allies along the way, and unraveling the mystery that is Hamelin.
Many people who I've come across who have heard and/or seen Violinist of Hamelin believe it to be a very funny story, more along the lines of Slayers. My guess is then that they have never seen the TV series. The manga is not as serious, and the movie was a outright parody, but the TV series is a far cry from these things.
Simply put, Violinist of Hamelin is one of the darkest, depressing series I have ever seen.
Gone is all of the humor. Instead, the TV series focuses on the story and the characters, and the sheer angst involved in the situation. Hamelin has a secret, and he wants more than anything to keep Flute sheltered from the sad truths of the world. It's a task easier said than done. Flute wants to stay in her adopted home of Staccato and be a normal girl, but circumstances won't allow her to. Seeing all that these two go through is heart wrenching. There is some comic relief from Raiel, Hamelin's childhood friend, but not nearly enough as there should be. You keep waiting and waiting for a break to come for these characters, but at times, it seems it never will. I never thought I'd find myself wishing that -someone- would go SD, if even for a moment. Hamelin could have used some tension breakers of the likes in Fushigi Yuugi.
Considering the very serious tone of the series, it's jarring to see the characters dressed in very flamboyant, colorful clothes wielding giant musical instruments as battle weapons. You can tell these characters probably weren't meant to be taken too seriously, but their clothes are about the only thing colorful in this series, as the rest of the backgrounds and characters are very dark, rendered in muted colors.
The music for the series is just as somber too. Appropriate, but again, considering the characters appearance and the supposed jovial nature of the original manga, it's still a bit unsettling.
I guess I am confused by the TV series more than anything. I'm not confused by the plot or story, which are very good and done very well, but by the decision to make a comedy into a tragedy (going by the Shakespearean terminology). It's not bad, but I couldn't shake the feeling that something was -missing-. I had never read the manga or seen the movie when I saw the TV series, and in hindsight, I wish I did. Violinist of Hamelin is a good series, but to truly appreciate it, you may have to go further than what the TV series offers.
Great big buckets of angst. Not for those who have missed their daily dose of Zoloft. — Christi
Recommended Audience: The story will go right over the head of most under-twelves, though the character designs will appeal to them. There is a lot of violence as there are monsters all over the place, but not any outright gore (at least, not in the first half of the series). No nudity or sexual situations. Later on, the story gets very involved and the situations are adult in content (but not the sexual kind. It's all just very messed up angsty stuff)
Version(s) Viewed: digital source
Review Status: Full (25/25)
The Violinist of Hamelin © 1996 Watanabe Michiaki / Enix / Pony Canyon / Adex
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